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Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel

Excel is a powerful tool that can help you manage and analyze data in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways to import and export data in Excel is through comma-delimited and MS-DOS CSV files. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two file formats and how to work with them in Excel.

Comma-Delimited Files

A comma-delimited file, also known as a CSV file, is a text file that uses commas to separate values. Each line in the file represents a row in a table, and each comma separates the values in that row. For example, a CSV file might look like this:

Name, Age, Gender

John, 25, Male

Jane, 30, Female

When you open a CSV file in Excel, the program will automatically recognize the commas as separators and create a table with the data. You can then manipulate the data in Excel as you would with any other table.


An MS-DOS CSV file is similar to a comma-delimited file, but it uses a slightly different format. In an MS-DOS CSV file, each row is separated by a carriage return and line feed (CRLF) character, and each value is enclosed in double quotes. For example:




When you open an MS-DOS CSV file in Excel, you may need to specify the file type as “MS-DOS CSV” in order for the program to recognize the format. Once the file is open, Excel will automatically recognize the double quotes as text qualifiers and create a table with the data.

Working with CSV Files in Excel

Once you have opened a CSV file in Excel, you can manipulate the data in a variety of ways. Here are a few tips:

Sorting and Filtering

You can sort and filter the data in a CSV file just as you would with any other table in Excel. Simply select the data you want to sort or filter, and then click the “Sort” or “Filter” button on the “Data” tab.

Converting Text to Columns

If your CSV file contains data that is not separated by commas or other delimiters, you can use the “Text to Columns” feature in Excel to split the data into separate columns. Simply select the data you want to split, and then click the “Text to Columns” button on the “Data” tab.

Exporting Data to CSV

If you want to export data from Excel to a CSV file, you can do so by selecting the data you want to export and then clicking the “Save As” button on the “File” tab. In the “Save As” dialog box, select “CSV (Comma delimited)” or “CSV (MS-DOS)” as the file type.


Comma-delimited and MS-DOS CSV files are common file formats for importing and exporting data in Excel. By understanding the differences between these two formats and how to work with them in Excel, you can more effectively manage and analyze your data.


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